for comments, critics, additions
USA 1978 ARISTA AB 4198
++++++++++++++ This album was recorded in the bands own studio, "Le Club Front" in Marin County, in effort to get the 'live-feel'. Producer was Lowell George of Little Feat fame, but he didn't do a very good job on this one. The sound of the album is thin, it's poorly recorded with indifferent performances. The music never takes off. Pigpen's showstopper, the old Rascals hit GOOD LOVIN' is given a tepid reworking, but SHAKEDOWN STREET is one of their best songs. This was Keith and Donna's last recording work for the DeaD. The cover is from famous cartoonist Robert Crumb, a real nice one!
nr. 1 Seemingly oblivious to the arrival of punk-rock in 1977, the DeaD left the long-time label Warners for Arista and debuted with the reasonably well received (owing to the side long TERRAPIN) TERRAPIN STATION. But, with the 1978 follow-up, SHAKEDOWN STREET, they failed to repeat that success. It offered a ten-track mismatch of songs which pale into comparison with the previous album and a pale shadow of their glory days a decade earlier. Opening with a cover of GOOD LOVIN', it is pretty much downhill all the way as Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir take turns at vocals, never really getting in harmony. For completists and Deadheads only. * * DAVE HENDERSON, Q, AUGUST 1991
nr. 2 This could have been a match made in heaven. Lowell George was the leader of Little Feat, one of the only American bands simpatico with the DeaD for its blues roots and offbeat lyrics. But something went terribly wrong along the way. George ended up doing little besides supervising the recording of the basic tracks, and rather than rockin' hard in the Dead/Litttle Feat tradition, the sound on the record is flat and tame. That's a shame because SHAKEDOWN STREET and FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN are both excellent songs that are sabotaged here by poor recording and indifferent performances. Most of the other songs aren't particularly interesting. rating: * BLAIR JACKSON, THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED,1983
nr. 3 I NEED A MIRACLE is the first anthem any of these rabble-rousing necromancers has written in years. On the title tune, however, Jerry once again warns against 'too much too fast' and this album definitively ain't the miracle they need. rating: C ROBERT CRISTGAU
nr. 4 Though on paper the match between Lowell George and the DeaD seemed made in heaven, in reality it was anything but ideal.George hadn't produced any album before, and although the songs SHAKEDOWN STREET, FIRE and MIRACLE were excellent, the resulting disc sounds fairly anemic and dissolute, despite the efforts of soundman Dan Healy and John Kahn. JAMIE JENSEN, BUILT TO LAST, FANTAIL 1990
nr. 5 GOOD LOVIN' and SHAKEDOWN STREET are available in numerous better live versions. FRANCE is a nice try-out, but nothing more. SERENGETTI is a beautiful drum piece, but falls a bit out of place, compared to the rest of the songs. FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN shows at last some of the good ol' Grateful Dead. On side two only FROM THE HEART OF ME and IF I HAD THE WORLD TO GIVE can pass the DeaD test. That leaves only two stars to give, of which one is for the artwork... * * ERIK SCHOTHANS, July 1992